In the wake of some recently reported thefts that have occurred during open houses in Santa Clara County, we would like to remind all our members to stay vigilant when putting on an open house. Individuals have been attending open houses where they pose as potential buyers. While in the home, they are targeting wallets, purses, jewelry, and other small items.

Since holding an open house will expose you to people that you’ve never met before, it is critical that you follow all possible safety precautions. Even a buyer that seems legitimate could quickly decide to steal a small item on a whim. We encourage you to read NAR’s blog post on 10 tips for holding a safe open house and watch this video on open house safety.

SCCAOR reached out to local Brokers to see what tips they offer to their agents when it comes to preventing theft at an open house. The following information comes from Doug Goss, Broker Associate of Keller Williams Bay Area Estates:

What advice and/or training do you provide to agents in regards to open houses?

“The C.A.R. Residential Listing Agreement Paragraph 10 and Seller’s Advisory Paragraph 4C address Security Precautions. We recommend that Agents go over these paragraphs in detail with the Seller so they understand there is risk with people coming through the home during showings or open house and to make sure all valuables are put away and secured. This includes, cash, jewelry, prescription drugs, firearms, cell phones, laptops/tablets and other valuables. I have also added expensive perfume to the list as I had a client in Willow Glen last year who had a bottle of expensive perfume stolen from the top of her bedroom dresser during an Open House.”

What tips do you have for providing a high level of service and protecting the homeowner’s assets?

Prior to an Open House, take a look around the property to make sure nothing has been left out that may be tempting for someone to walk away with. If you do find something, place in a drawer for safe keeping and let the Seller know where you placed it or replace when you are finished. Also, on large properties or multi-story properties, we recommend having assistance with the Open House. Many Lenders love to co-host Open Houses with Agents so they can pre-qualify potential Buyers and pick up business. It provides another set of eyes and ears to keep track of visitors when they are in different areas of the property. Also, when you are finished with an Open House, go back and double check ALL windows and doors. I have heard of thieves going through Open Houses and unlocking windows and doors so they can come back after the Open House and gain access.

Any other information that you can share?

Always let somebody know where you are holding Open House. If you are holding Open House in a remote area, always have someone co-host with you. Some areas have limited cell access and could be very risky. Also, when you are hosting an Open House, make sure you secure your own valuables while at the Open House. Do not leave your purse, briefcase, cell phone or laptop out in the open. While you are showing the home to a potential Buyer, a thief could easily take these items (or wallet, cash, credit cards out of a purse) and walk out with them.

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® is happy to announce the promotion of Samantha Gutierrez to Education & Events Coordinator. She will join our Events and Education department after having already worked for over a year as a Membership Coordinator with the Association.

“I am very excited to be starting this new journey with SCCAOR,” said Gutierrez. “I look forward to being a part of bringing members the best possible events and classes that SCCAOR can provide.”

Samantha will report to Jodee Sousa, SCCAOR’s Education & Events Manager, and assist with the planning and marketing for all classes hosted in the SCCAOR office as well as all the member related events organized throughout the year.

“I am looking forward to working with Sam on education and events,” said Sousa. “She brings a lot of great insight from working directly with our members and she has already hit the ground running with some fresh ideas that our members will benefit from.”

In her free time, Samantha enjoys practicing the art of Improv comedy. She also enjoys watching the San Jose Sharks and enjoying the Bay Area music scene.

See all our upcoming Events and Classes on the SCCAOR Calendar.

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® is pleased to announce the promotion of Jodee Sousa as Education & Events Manager.

“I am excited to take on this new role and continue to bring new and engaging classes and events to our members,” said Sousa. “Stop by and see me when you’re in the office!”

Sousa was originally hired in late 2017 as SCCAOR’s Marketing & Events Coordinator. She worked on producing marketing collateral and planning all of the Association’s events. Her new role has her taking on more responsibility in this capacity as well as taking over ownership of all SCCAOR educational classes.

“Over the last year and a half, Jodee has become an essential part of our team,” said Spencer High, SCCAOR Director of Member Engagement. “She brings a lot of great experience to the table and I know that she will do a fantastic job in her new position.”

Outside of work, Jodee enjoys spending time with her 8-month-old son, Miguel, family, friends and Beaglier, Kali. A Disneyland trip is always on the horizon for her.

You can visit the calendar on our website to see all our upcoming classes and events. 

Terry Weaver has joined SCCAOR as our new Membership Coordinator. Terry will help new members join SCCAOR and assist current members with any questions or issues about their Association membership.

“I am ecstatic to join the SCCAOR Team,” said Weaver. “I look forward to sharing my diverse experience and enthusiasm to all SCCAOR members and affiliates.”

Terry was born and raised in Connecticut and lived in Raleigh, North Carolina for 19 years. She is familiar with the real estate industry, having worked as a REALTOR® in North Carolina. She is also an Air Force Veteran and has a masters in Human Resource Management from DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management, and studied Business Management for her undergrad.

“Terry is a great addition to our Membership team,” said Tracey Lee, Member Services Manager. “She brings many years of customer service experience and she will add another layer of success to our team.”

Terry is a skilled cosmetologist, having done makeup design for Comic Con. She is also interested in fashion consulting and she has organized fashion shows for her sister’s church. In her free time, she enjoys taking trips to the beach and line dancing.

“My two favorite mottos are ‘Dress for Success’ and ‘Work smarter, not harder’,” she said.

You can reach our Membership Services team by phone (408-445-8500), email (, and also via live chat on our website.

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) awarded five prestigious awards during its Installation Ceremony at Villa Ragusa in Campbell last month.

2018 REALTOR® of the Year was awarded to Frank Cancilla of eXp Realty. This award recognizes individuals who demonstrate the principles of good real estate practice, promote home ownership, and provide distinguished service to all SCCAOR Members.

“It was a very humbling experience to be chosen by my peers as the recipient of this distinguished award,” said Cancilla. “I was completely shocked and overwhelmed with emotions after they announced my name. It was an amazing feeling.”

Cancilla has been a licensed REALTOR® since 2000 and has been a broker for the last 13 years. He is a current member of the SCCAOR Board of Directors and was the 2018 Chair of the Santa Clara County REALTORS® Foundation

Another award given out at the event was Affiliate of the Year, awarded to Don Crozier of Kal Financial. Don has been in the mortgage business for over 30 years and has been a SCCAOR Member since 2000. He currently serves as a member of the SCCAOR Affiliate Committee.

“One of the things I enjoy about this business is the ability to give back,” said Crozier. “It’s been a tremendous privilege to work with the REALTORS® in the community.”

The award for 2018 Volunteer of the Year went to Carl San Miguel of Highland Properties. He has been a REALTOR® for 46 years and he is the only two-time Past President in the history of the Association.

“Volunteering is already rewarding by the people you share your time on committees with,” said San Miguel. “To be chosen by my peers for my commitment to the REALTOR® community is icing on the cake. It is indeed humbling.”

The fourth award of the night, the President’s Choice Award, was given to Helen Chong of Haylen Group. Helen has been a REALTOR® for 14 years and currently serves on the SCCAOR Board of Directors.

“It was a complete surprise,” said Chong. “I am extremely honored and humbled to have been given this award, especially among so many other accomplished REALTORS®!”

In a surprise announcement, the Byron Brawley award was presented to Pam Foley. This award, which is SCCAOR’s highest honor, recognizes a career of exemplary and distinguished service to the members of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS®, the real estate industry of California, and the community at large. Foley has been a REALTOR® since 1987 and served as SCCAOR President in 1998.

“I am truly humbled and honored to receive the Byron Brawley Award,” she said. “Having served with this wonderful man when he was SCCAOR president, I know what a truly generous man he was. He was a man of integrity, honesty and a high moral compass. He dedicated his career to supporting and advancing professionalism within the REALTOR® community.”

Click here to see videos of each award presentation

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) installed Gustavo Gonzalez as its President during an evening ceremony at Villa Ragusa in Campbell on January 24. He will serve as the 2019 President of SCCAOR, a real estate trade organization that represents over 6,400 REALTOR® and Affiliate members in Santa Clara County.

Gustavo Gonzalez photo“We are so fortunate to have a passionate leader like Gustavo Gonzalez as our President,” said Neil Collins, SCCAOR CEO. “He has served as a civic leader while on the Alum Rock School board, he has provided affordable housing as a property manager, and he has been a local REALTOR® for over 18 years. I can’t think of anyone more qualified to represent our members.”

Gonzalez is the Broker/Owner of Valley View Properties based in San Jose. He served on the SCCAOR Board of Directors from 2007 to 2009 and was Vice President in 2014 and President-Elect in 2018. He has also been a member of the SCCAOR Professional Standards Committee since 2008.

“Family has always been an important part of my life,” said Gonzalez. “My theme this year as President is ‘The REALTOR® Familia – Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is a success.’ I look forward to a great year of collaboration and teamwork with SCCAOR’s Directors, Committee Chairs, Staff and Members. We are only limited by our imagination!”

SCCAOR Directors group photo

Other SCCAOR Officers that were installed include Sandy Jamison (President-Elect), William Chea (Vice President), and Stephen Theard (Treasurer/Secretary).

They will be joined by SCCAOR Board of Directors, which includes: Kip Barnard, Frank Cancilla, Helen Chong, Kevin Cole, Teressa Francis, Doug Goss, Gene Hunt, Don Jessup, Trisha Motter, Gabrielle Perez, Tam Quach, William Rehbock, Rick Smith, and Mark Von Kaenel.